Iris Perkins

Writing from the Facts (well maybe not everything…)

When we write about erotica, we write from memory or what we want to see happen. In this type of writing, be careful it is from a true life event. One would never want to be sued by a misrepresented character in a book that was written with the likes of someone else that is actually known in a community or place that is frequently visited.

There are a few things that should be remembered when writing from your truth: make sure the remarks about a person are not defamatory, make sure that there is no issue with invading a true-to-life person’s privacy and make sure that there is in no way any unwarranted publicity or public humiliation.

We live in an age of entitlement and where people sue for anything. A writer should not want their royalties to go to paying off a defamation suit and not being able to have readers read what they have written. It will also provide your readers with reason not to trust your writing and other not to trust you with personal conversations or other information.

With “Big Brother” everywhere, people value privacy, no matter what. If Amazon can be sued for Alexa listening in on private moments, please don’t think that someone will not come for your words, in print, if it reveals someone’s private moments and thoughts. Make sure the writer always has disclaimers in the beginning of the book. Never use any recent full names or images from anywhere that is less than 100 years old. They have to be rightfully dead for 100 years, not assumed dead.

If a writer are ever accused of defamation, consider taking the book out of print, publishing a retraction and then putting out a new edition of the book without the information available in it. Always have editors and attorneys review the manuscript if it is believed that the fiction touches really close to true life.

Allow skeletons to lie in the closet unless they are truly meant to be unearth with no issues or ghosts haunting your doorsteps. Subpoenas are not hard to get and the writer’s words could get them served. If a writer wants the real interesting true-life information, take time out to go to the courts and look up publicly disclosed information.

If a writer wants to write the truth, write the whole truth and not just from a single point of view. Make it factual. Do not leave out the slightest detail because that could put the other person in a false light and the writer would could be sued as well.

Just a few common sense reminders to keeps us on our toes. One never knows when the words are printed whose life we actually affect.

Happy writing.

 

Tips for Typing Terrific Tales

Squirrel!

Looky there. It’s a flying rat.

I know you already knew it.

It was here that I knew that Colonel Plum did it in the bathroom with the pipe wrench and “WHAM!” That is how it happened.

I have some type of attention deficit disorder; however, I have not been diagnosed, but I do know…

SQUIRREL!!!

Write over it.

Ok. Wait.

Where was I?

I ain’t got no clues present to get me back to the beginning, but I don’t want to start at the beginning because it is way too long ago and I can’t catch you up to speed.

Anyway, this was to get you to understand that holding the audience’s attention, maintaining good grammar and the story structure are the three very important parts to writing a story. The audience is your fan base and beyond. You know not to tell your audience anything unless it will not come out. Your audience is who you write for and make sure that the plot moves along. Make sure that you’re writing for your intended audience instead of trying to please everyone.

We always talk about speech tags and their overuse of speech tags like “she hissed,” “he snapped,” “she stammered,” get irritating fast. Likewise, reading a character’s name too often in dialogue can be a turn off. Avoid more than the occasional “um” or “well,” or “er,” and keep dialogue realistic, but more coherent. Also, make sure the words that are grammatically correct. IF the language that you are relaying your story in is not your first language or you’re not completely fluent, make sure to get assistance.

Your writing style, tone, character motivations, or even plot might begin one way and, unintentionally, change at some point in the book. Be especially aware of small details like names, occupations, physical descriptions of people or places, which can all fall prey to inconsistencies over the course of 300+ pages. Something to look at for writing style is “Eats Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss and reading a few articles from Michael Hauge will assist in this category.

Make sure that when telling your story begin at a point that can be referenced back to in the story. Chronological stories are good, but there are some times the chronological order of the story will not bring the story to where it needs to be. If all the good stuff happens at the beginning, or if nothing exciting happens until the end, your reader will be frustrated with the rest of the book.

This is what gets me. Knowing when and where to begin your story. There are some that say that you should begin your first major plot point within the first 25% of your story or you can jar the balance of how the story arc falls. Some say that you can start your story chronologically and then work backwards to the event. Within each set of “rules” there is always time. Time is a factor in everything. If you give the audience too much too soon, then there is nothing else to read. If you make the audience wait until the last chapter to find out anything, you may lose your audience. You want to provide just enough, but no one ever knows when to say when and that is why we have editors.

I have gotten better at finding a balance in the information that I do provide my readers; however, that is after a lot of help from people in ERWA who help hone my skills for writing. There are other resources that can assist you if you have not subscribed to our Storytime List and those resources are:

“Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative” by Chuck Wendig and “The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface” by Donald Maass.

There is a TedX video that brings in circularity, symmetry and a few other things to light for writers. That link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUT6GQveD0E (I do not own the rights to this video, I am just sharing it.)

All in all, in order to write something that someone else wants to read, make sure that you can capture and keep their attention, make sure your vocabulary fits your scenery, that you are aware of small detailed changes so there are no mix ups, and start at a good place in the story so that it can keep going and then finish it with something memorable.

SQUIRREL!

Made you look!

 

 

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